Beyond the end

As suggested nearly two years ago below, I’ve finally got round to moving my old Apple iWeb based website from my own hosting servers, to WordPress.

It’s very much a work in progress at the moment, but I’m getting there.

There are still some people who visit this blog (Thank you!) so if you want to see what else is going on in my little corner of the world, you are welcome to pop in for a virtual cup of tea.

The link you need is

Andy Barton Photography


This is the end…

No, not that end, but the end of this blog.

And that’s because there is nothing left for me to say on it. After 10 years, it’s job is done.

I am well.

I have actually been well since the end of my chemotherapy in 2010, but it’s only after several years than one can be sure. As time, and research moves on, it is becoming clearer that, for the lucky ones like me, there may be a “cure” for B-Cell Follicular Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma after all. Cure may be too strong a word, but “remission long enough to get you to the end of your life anyway” is how I am looking at it.

Basically, there is a proportion of the population with this who respond extremely well to the chemo and fantastic treatments currently available. Some 80% of patients survive 24 months without relapsing and needing further treatment, or unfortunately, dying. If you can get beyond that 24 month period, then it seems that you are more likely to never relapse. I will be 10 years from the start of my treatment in February and am confident that I am through this now.

Rituximab, as I have said before, has been a game-changer and the newer versions are even better. Great news is that Rituximab is now off-patent and available at a much more reasonable cost, so hopefully more people around the world can benefit. But, thanks to the people at Roche who needed the high price to bring it to market in the first place. Let’s hope that the research ongoing today brings forward better and better treatments.

I will still see my consultant going forwards, but only once per year instead of every six months, but can foresee a time when I will stop that too.

I wouldn’t wish this on anyone, but I am thankful for all the people who treated me and supported me when I was ill. And I hope that someone with NHL reading this has got something out of it – that was one of the reasons for starting it in the first place.

Now, it’s time to look forward to a great holiday in the US in the Autumn celebrating Ann’s birthday, our first ever Christmas away from home and a couple of trips booked for next year too.

But most importantly, our daughter’s wedding in a couple of month’s time. It’s going to be a great day.

I will leave this blog with a couple of photos taken a fortnight ago near the Severn Valley Railway, near Kidderminster. What a beautiful spot this is.



Thank you.



PS – Since Flickr now have a policy of restricting the number of photographs on their site and Apple have stopped iWeb, I might set up a photography page on here. I will add a link if I do.

I’m still here…

Obviously, the periods between my posting on the blog have been getting longer and longer, but I have never gone nearly 4 months before. So maybe it’s time to pick this up again.

I have been prompted by two things really. Firstly, the retirement of a colleague recently who chastised me for not posting an update for a long time. He has a family member who has a similar condition to this and we have chatted about similar experiences. I hope he drops by and see this and is enjoying his life outside the office.

Secondly, through my contacts on the NCRI, I was approached this week by a big pharmaceutical company who were looking for some insight into drug and immuno therapy from a patient’s point of view. I pointed them to this blog and shared my experiences in a phone interview last Friday. The contact there is presenting to the great and the good of his organisation next week and I was happy to help him get a message across. They may have some exciting news to share with the world later, which will obviously be good!

I had my 6 month check-up with my consultant in June and I am pleased to say that things are still looking good from a health point of view. Next one will be in December and once again, there is no need for a CT scan this year. I’m now into my 8th year with this, 5 years post-maintenance.

Another birthday has also been and gone and I’m looking forward to a session with a local blacksmith next weekend. Ann bought me a Saturday morning’s experience there – I will be making a poker for the fire, apparently. Watch this space…

We have spent an excellent week on Islay with some good friends and it was a really good experience showing them around a place we know and love well. They hadn’t been out to a Scottish island before, and I suspect that they will be back soon. What’s not to like? We were very fortunate with the weather and the lack of midgies – if the former is bad and the later are out, it can be a bit miserable out there.

Here are a few photos from the week





The new car is going extremely well and is a delight to drive and I am pleased to say that the satnav works perfectly. Which makes a nice change. I must go out and wash it shortly…

My task now is to find a suitable venue for everyone to meet for the Leica Forum Challenge in Rome in October. I have dinner for 40 sorted, but finding a suitable cafe in the centre of the city to meet at lunchtime is proving to be a challenge in itself.

Answers on a postcard please.

And, I promise that the next update will be before Christmas…



At last – an update. Venice (again) and the new car

Even the not-so-eagle-eyed will have noticed that I haven’t posted anything for a while and the longer it goes between posts, the harder it is to sit down and put anything “on paper”.

But, after a couple of months and with a hint last week, there must be something to share.

Firstly, there has been another trip to Venice – our fourth. I have said in the past that once the city gets under your skin, it’s the kind of place that you just have to go back to. As “old hands”, we are now familiar with where to go and where to eat, etc., but even this time we did at least three things that we hadn’t done before on previous trips.

We went out to Torcello, the first island inhabited in the lagoon – quite a strange, quiet place now that there are only a couple of hundred people living there rather than the 20,000 that used to fill the island. Lots of silted up small canals, a couple of restaurants for the tourists walking from the vaporetto to the ancient church with its amazing fresco. And that’s about it. Worth the short ride from Burano though.


Secondly, we went to the Doges’ Palace, the magnificent seat of power for the Venetian empire. Quite why we haven’t been there before I don’t know, but it’s well worth a visit, if only to walk across the Bridge of Sighs.


Thirdly, we decided to go to Harry’s Bar to sample a Bellini, a peach and prosecco cocktail invented there. Sitting at the bar, these two short drinks set us back 45€, but it was an experience – that doesn’t need to be repeated.

Finally, we decided to try the cicchetti at the little wine shop near to the gondola workshop. We had been there before, but just to try the coffee. This time, we braved the 2€ glass of prosecco (much more reasonable, I am sure you will agree…) and their small canape-like cicchetti on a slice of “french” bread. Some had smoked salmon on cream cheese, others had dried and salted cod. They were all delicious and again, bargains at 1.50€ each. Enough lunch could be had for two for only 13€. Highly recommended.


And, here are some random snaps from the rest of the few days


I have had the new car just over a week now. Mercedes are, unsurprisingly, buggering me about over the collection of the old one. The car itself is also making life difficult, by throwing up a “you need to have your brakes checked” warning on the dashboard. You cannot hand a car back with such warnings, so I will have those sorted this week

The new BMW is simply astonishing. It’s difficult to describe how different it is from the Mercedes, in just about every way.

It has an unbelievable amount of power, and loads of torque right across the rev range. The acceleration is astonishing and almost addictive – but that is what needs to be kept in check, for the sake of the fuel consumption, the tyres and of course, my licence!

Unlike the Merc, it goes round corners, with the car going where you point it, rather than some random destination outside of the curve. It’s also surprisingly quiet, unless you have it in Sport mode where some flaps in the exhaust open up to make it a bit louder – I don’t do that.

Going back to real leather seats, as opposed to Mercedes’ vinyl ones is good and the BMW ones are very nice indeed.

And, the sat nav works… See, it can be done.

And, I have been getting well over 30 mpg, which is excellent.

This past week, I attended another NCRI Committee Meeting and have volunteered to join a sub-group, rather than just stay on the main committee. I haven’t had much direct involvement or requests for assistance from the committee in the year I have been involved, but it transpires that all of the real work is done in sub-committees. Hopefully, there will be more for me to do and assist with at that level.

At the forthcoming local Lymphoma Association meeting in Manchester, I have been asked to give a talk about my NCRI experiences and what it is that they do. It’s a shame that I haven’t a huge amount to tell regarding the “everyday” but I will give it a go in May.

Just before heading off to Venice (literally the same morning, but that’s another story) we had the bathroom refitted. This means that only 569 days after moving into the bungalow, every room in the place has been renewed, redecorated, upgraded and finished. Now, it’s the garden’s turn and as that gets weeded and cleared and replanted, I cannot take any credit. It’s starting to come together, in the back garden now, as well as the front and as it grows and matures, it’s going to look really lovely. Ann does a fantastic job.

Finally, Easter is upon us once again. Let’s hope that the weather next weekend is as good as it has been these last two – one can live in hope…

Funeral for a Friend

Finally, after roughly 4 months, my friend who died back in September has had his funeral.

It is shocking that it has taken so long for this to be arranged, but maybe a sign of the times.

I received an email from his son, letting me know that the service, at an east London crematorium, would be only a few days later. Apparently, once the paperwork had all been corrected (can you believe that his death certificate was made out in the wrong name?), the family were given no choice about when and where the service would be held.

I caught the first train out of Manchester and found my way to the crematorium out past the Olympic stadium, arriving in good time for the service which was at 9:15. The crematorium  is actually in a beautiful setting in a large area of parkland and cemetery – as most of them are, to be fair. But as I passed through the Victorian gatehouse arch and headed to the chapel, it struck me how entirely appropriate it was for the service to be held in such an environment.

It was cold, only just above freezing, and there was a mist in the air. Everyone walking through the grounds was wrapped up in their hats and coats and gloves against the weather. This is how one imagines funerals to be. Maybe it’s different in warmer climes, but to me, this is how they always seem to be. Maybe I’ve only ever been to funerals in the winter, I don’t know. It is the most popular time of year to die, after all.

I thought that the weather and the whole situation was also appropriate for Alain. He was a huge fan of Ingmar Bergman films – all dark and black and white and Swedish 1950s and 60s. His avatar on Twitter was “Death” from Bergman’s “The Seventh Seal”, which is a cheery film*.

Given that they are inevitable, a funeral on a cold, damp, misty January just seemed completely right for him

There weren’t many people there, as I anticipated, but I did get to meet his son and his family. They were really lovely people and it’s a shame that we couldn’t have met in different circumstances. But life, and death, are not like that.

I am glad that I made the effort to attend. And I am glad to have known Alain, who turned out to be a lot older and a lot more German than I had thought!


* No it isn’t

And, yes, I do have Elton John playing in the background as I type this.


Life in the Raw

When we moved into the bungalow, on the first afternoon we were there, Ann called me into the kitchen with a “look at this!”. I expected to see a dead body in the kitchen, or a hole in the floor, or something equally drastic, but she was calling me to see a cow in the adjacent field looking at us over the hedge. The farm at the end of the road is dairy and has around 140 milking friesians, who spend 3 or 4 days a week in “our” field.


This is the view from the kitchen window.

As we got used to our new neighbours and enjoyed watching them during the spring to autumn, it struck us that it would be good if we could drink the milk that they produce. Well, as of yesterday, we can.

Since Christmas, the farmer has been constructing a new “porch” on the side of one of his barns, facing the road and I guessed that he might have been setting up to sell produce directly. On Saturday, a flyer was posted through the door to say that they are now selling raw milk from a vending machine and so we bought some on the way back from walking Betsy yesterday morning.


The milk is obviously whole and not skimmed and is therefore creamier than we are used to, but it does have a lovely fresh taste. This is hardly surprising, given that only 5 hours before this photo was taken, it was still inside a cow! It tastes very odd in tea as we are used to drinking milk from the other end of the rawness scale (Cravendale skimmed), but it is really nice just as a drink or on cereals. Will definitely be buying regularly.

Raw milk has far more vitamins and minerals that pasteurised, and retains its beneficial bacteria, but does come with a very small risk of catching some horrid disease, such as TB. This is highly unlikely and, in my opinion, a risk worth taking to buy produce that could not be more local.

I will enjoy a glass or two looking out of the window at our neighbours when the weather improves and they can come back into our field.

I like living here. It’s good for you.

A link to

Part of the point of this blog was to allow anyone, anywhere to find it and hopefully take some use from it.

One such person who has come across it is a chap in the US, by the name of Virgil. Initially, I thought that his short email asking for details of my blog was a scam, but as it turns out he wants to share a site dedicated to a support site in the US for sufferers of mesothelioma, a cancer caused by exposure to asbestos.

They appear to to very good work. As Virgil wrote to me

“As a result of their website I am now being treated at the National Cancer Institute and the patient advocates have even provided me with financial assistance so I could afford a place to live during my cancer treatments. If I had not reached out to this website I would likely be homeless and more importantly in hospice waiting to die. These people gave me my only chance at survival.

I noticed you posted a cancer-related link on your website. Perhaps some of your website visitors could use the help of The website is filled with information on mesothelioma treatments and doctors, asbestos trust funds for victims, and a lot more. They also sponsor The American Cancer Society, the MD Cancer Center, and the Make a Wish Foundation.”

I am happy to share this link with all who read this blog and wish Virgil well in his treatment.

A word to the wise… Don’t believe the happy British Gas adverts

Back in the first week in December, British Gas installed a new boiler into our place. The old boiler, which was in the kitchen and inside one of the new wall cabinets, was probably from the 1980s and, when considered with the original hot water tank insulated with one of those red jackets that cost £5 from B&Q and the odd pair of old lady’s knickers that had fallen down in the airing cupboard (don’t ask), it seemed to make a lot of sense to have a new one installed.

We were advised by the British Gas salesman that a combi- condensing boiler was the way to go. Much more efficient that the old one, we wouldn’t need to heat up a tank of hot water to allow it to go cold during the day, but we could have “instant” hot water by the bathful, whenever we wanted it. The boiler could be fitted in the old airing cupboard, which would be freed of the old water tank and the kitchen would benefit from the additional cupboard.

So, this is what they did.

It would, of course, take 14 lifetimes to save enough on the gas bill to actually pay for the new one, but what the hell? It would also mean that the installation of a new bathroom a few months later would be able to make use of a properly plumbed in combi shower fitting rather than an electric shower.

The quote was serious money, but given our recent experience of trying to get a plumber to do work and trusting that British Gas would do a first class job – after all, that’s what all their adverts say in between the house programmes on Channel 4 – on 5th December, they came and did the work. It took them the best part of two days.

Initially, it seemed that they had done a good job. OK, they left a dirty hand print on the newly painted kitchen wall. OK, they left a shedload of crap on top of the kitchen wall cupboards. OK, they couldn’t be bothered to put overshoes on or floor protector down, as the wood burning stove guys did. But they left the place with a working boiler and instructions as to how to top up the water when the pressure gauge got to below 1 bar.

I was surprised when I had to top up the water a couple of times in the first few days and eventually, fearing that something was wrong, Ann got their Homecare team out to have a look. It turned out that they hadn’t tightened up the new thermostatic radiator valves properly and the joints were leaking. The new engineer was also “surprised” at how they had left a radiator in the bathroom, so he replumbed that for us.

All was well.

Until this afternoon, when the ceiling light in the inner hall (between the bedrooms and the bathroom) started to flicker and flash, even when switched off.

Then, water could be seen running down the wall in the living room.

Homecare were called again and I came home from the office to work at home and to see what the chap had to say. It turned out to be the same man who had come to fix the problem last time.

I had assumed that the leak was a direct result of their new installation and while waiting for the guy to arrive, made a formal complaint to British  Gas over the phone. As it transpired, it wasn’t quite true, as the leak was coming from a joint on the original system that had been under tension as it was crossed by other pipes. The new system operates at a much higher pressure than the old one and a weak joint will be found out eventually. Fair enough but it would have nice to have told about this risk when we were thinking about having this work done.

But what isn’t fair enough is the absolute bomb-site state of the loft as left by the original plumbers back in December. Photos below show the standard of their plumbing but more particularly the condition of the insulation that they left. They had just lifted the glass fibre, thrown it to one side and left it there. Further, none of the new pipes were insulated, so a load of my new boiler’s heat is heading off into the loft.

So, there’s a job for a weekend in the Spring.

And be warned. British Gas fitters are just as much cowboys as the next cowboy. Apart from the chap who has now visited twice to sort things out for us, of course.

Three photos of the way the loft was left and one of a little river of water running down the beautifully painted wall behind the sofa…




It’s not too late to say “Happy New Year”

Is it?

Happy New Year. It’s going to be a good one this year.

As I sit here with a stinking cold – not flu, obviously, as I had the jab – I have a little time to reflect on a very good Christmas and New Year.

On the way back from visiting my folks in Maidenhead over Christmas, we avoided the horrendous nonsense that is the motorway network at a holiday time and returned via the Cotswolds. We stopped in Broadway and, on finding that The Lygon Arms is dog-friendly, we cancelled a planned trip to edinburgh on New Year’s Day, and returned there instead.

I cannot recommend it highly enough. Very friendly, very comfortable room, excellent food and breakfast and nothing too much trouble. They even offered to defrost my car for me in the morning… You don’t get that in a Premier Inn. Not cheap, but a proper treat.

While there, we popped in to Robert Welch’s shop in Chipping Campden and ended up coming away with some kit for the new bathroom (more shortly) and a fantastic kitchen knife. One of those shops where you really could spend an absolute fortune.

The bathroom, the last remaining room in the bungalow to be refurbished, is to be done in the last week of February. Since it is the only bathroom we have, it’s going to be a bit of a pain for a week (no shower in the office either), so I can see us making use of the local swimming pool showers for the duration. Still, it’s great that it’s finally going to be done as the existing one is pretty horrible. We gave up on Porcelanosa’s recommended fitters, none of whom would respond to my enquiry, and went with a family-run local company. Will probably have spent more money than the alternative, but at least it’s ordered and on its way. It’s going to make a big difference.

The postman also brought a surprise today… what a joke!


Yes, due to my loyalty to Mercedes-Benz (ha ha!), they are offering me a personal discount of £1,500, which would be nice, if I hadn’t already told them that I never wanted another one and had a new BMW on order. Clearly they really don’t read their correspondence files, or any history of their customers or cars. They don’t deserve any loyalty, and have had none from me. This discount is also in lieu of any other dealer incentives, which might well have been more than this in any case. I am thinking of ringing them up, but actually wonder whether it’s worth the bother. Probably not, but I have nothing else to do this afternoon.

So, here are few shots taken over Christmas and the New Year, either in Broadway (no prizes) or south of the Cat and Fiddle road, between Macclesfield and Buxton, a part of England that never fails to deliver.





Update: The dealership both liked my Tweet (that gets posted with this blog) and replied! What a laugh!


And so this is Christmas

Merry Christmas to everyone who reads this blog. Here’s to a happy and peaceful end of the year and a prosperous and safe 2017.

The blog has been going a long time now and I have picked up some loyal readers along the way, so many thanks as always for staying with me and reading the inane ramblings.

I am pleased to report that my biannual checkup with my consultant has been and gone and as has become routine, there is nothing to report. Which is excellent news. He did cancel an appointment on me as I was walking into the clinic though, which wasn’t very good news, but he had been delayed in the US by aircraft problems, and was still on the airport tarmac in Philadelphia when he should have been seeing me. I don’t mind that, though. I’d rather have a consultant important enough to present at conferences in the US, and be delayed over there, than one who wasn’t such an expert. So barring anything untoward, that’s that until mid June again.

I am also pleased to say that the end is in sight for my dalliance with Mercedes. I know when I can leave my contract with them for no penalty and it coincides with the delivery date of its replacement. I don’t need a car the size of the Merc, so I have decided to be sensible and have ordered a three door hatchback from BMW.

When I say “sensible”, that’s almost completely true, but not quite. Thinking that we are in the last-chance saloon for larger engined small cars, and having coveted a six cylinder petrol BMW since I was at school, I have decided to go for the 3-litre version. Next time, we will be all plug-in hybrid, so cars like this will no longer exist. I know that I don’t need a car with such power. I know that the fuel costs will be significantly more than the Mercedes, or the diesel BMWs I have had in the past, but I am really looking forward to it. I drove an example of last year’s version on the way back from Kent in October and it was just incredible. Also incredibly, despite the specification, including the options list being fairly well visited, it is around £130 per month cheaper to rent than the Merc – which will keep the shareholders of Shell and BP happy…

I promise that I will drive it very carefully.

It should arrive in plenty of time for us to take it to Islay in July. We are renting a house with some very good friends so we are looking forward to revisiting old haunts and showing them around.

Right – time to make the stuffing balls.

And here’s a nice picture for you.



That’s the One Challenge over and done for another year

If you have never been to Lisbon, I can recommend it wholeheartedly as a really great city for a weekend break. Surprisingly hilly, but really interesting, with very friendly people, excellent prices, even at 1€ = £1, good food and, for us at least, excellent weather in mid-October.

It was a good One Challenge this year, with 30 people about to send me their photographs for judging later and 40 for the dinner on the Saturday evening. A good time was had by all and it was great to see so many “old faces” and new ones. 300€ prize fund up for grabs later in November.

I have a choice of two shots to enter, and think that I have decided which one, but will inevitably change my mind three more times before plumping for the wrong one, but that’s OK.

Here are some shots from Lisbon  – not including any taken during the Challenge period of course!


Always nice to see the bins and a sign to the toilets in front of an ancient building…





On our return, we spent a couple of days in Kent – where we had to find the Mercedes dealer as I posted last time. Amongst a visit to Chartwell (definitely worth a visit) and Leeds Castle (definitely not at £50 for two adults…), we spent some time on the beautiful Dungeness shingle. Really is a fabulous place.




The pub with rooms was all a bit odd. The room was “quirky” in as much as it had a huge copper bath in the middle of the floor and a lit open fire in the corner, together with a door lock that broke on the last morning meaning that we couldn’t return to the room to check out, but the evening food was excellent. Breakfast was a bit chaotic, though, which did detract from the experience, a bit. As did the cost.

Oh well. You only live once.

Following all the buggeration by Olympic Airways and the long lost trip to Milos, I have been advised by our travel insurance company that they are going to pay our claim in full later in the week, which is excellent news. I am also going to pursue a claim for compensation from the airline for the cancelled flights, as is one’s right under EU law. So far, the Greek authorities are not responding to letters, or emails, so I think that I will use one of the “no win no fee” companies that specialise in these cases. 75% of the compensation is better than none.

Unfortunately, I didn’t have any further contact from the warden of my friend’s flats, so I fear that I will not have been able to pay my respects as I had wished.

Twitter isn’t the same without him.

Quick update as I sit in a Mercedes dealership having my car fixed. While on holiday. 

As I wait an hour to have my car made legal again (the windscreen washer system has completely failed), I thought I’d share some iPhone pics from the recent visit to Portugal. And Kent…

A proper post will come later if/when we can get home. 

To say that I am a little bit cross having to spend my holiday in a Mercedes dealer is putting it mildly… Have I ever said how much I hate this car?

I lost that friend

I visited the hospice and the staff there were really fantastic, but as feared, my friend had already died, last weekend.

He had no next of kin, so I’m going to try to see what I can do with regards to the arrangements. Can’t let the council deal with things on their own. It’s not for me to pay for his funeral, but I would hate to think that there was no one there who knew him.

Time for a drink.

On potentially losing a friend

The Internet is an amazing resource, and one that has become completely ingrained into our lives in such a short period of time. I cannot think of another technology that has become ubiquitous and matured in such a short time before. Maybe the wheel. The coming of the railways in Britain happened over a similar period of time, but didn’t affect individuals’ lives in quite the same way as the Internet has. Obviously this blog wouldn’t exist if it weren’t for the ‘net.

It is capable of remarkable things, of course, including introducing you to people who you couldn’t possibly ever have hoped to meet in a hundred lifetimes. The rise of social media, from what could now be described as “traditional” Internet forums to Twitter and Facebook and whatever this year’s latest model is, have meant that people can interact instantaneously with others all over the world. Whilst all new technologies such as this have their downsides, in general, I would think that the good is currently outweighing the bad for most people.

Over the years, on several (now defunct) Internet forums and via Twitter, I happened across a really interesting chap. He had a very good eye for a photograph and was a talented photographer himself. There wasn’t much he didn’t know about classic films, especially the really dark odd ones from sixties Sweden and, a man after my own heart, really appreciated the work of Stanley Kubrick. Despite not being British by birth, he was very keen on the UK leaving Europe and a big fan of Nigel Farage.

I met him a few times when I was in his town on business. We had coffee a couple of times and a lunch, and he was good company.

More recently, he has been pretty poorly, in and out of hospital for various treatments. Always praising the nursing and medical staff, he didn’t have much good to say about the NHS system itself, but they did seem to be getting a grip of some various problems that he had. Then, in the summer, he told me that he needed some radiotherapy for a cancer that he had in his abdomen. It was similar to what I was diagnosed with back in 2009, but he didn’t really go into specifics. I shared my experiences, good and bad, with him of course, and he seemed to be on the mend.

Then, about six weeks ago, he told me via a private message on Twitter, and without going into specifics, that he was going into a hospice. Now, this could have been just for some respite care and for a few days he was messaging to say that they were very good there, the staff were excellent and he even had a special bed that constantly moved you about to prevent pressure sores. He also mentioned that you could have a bottle of beer with your dinner if you wished. This pleased him.

As he was stuck in his room for the duration, he asked me whether I could buy him a £20 top-up for his phone, which I gladly did. “I will pay you next time I see you”, he said, which was fine by me.

Then, there were no messages. No Twitter posts, apart from the odd automated one that tells you how many new followers his account has. No response to texts on the phone. Nothing.

For several weeks.

He had told me the name of the hospice that he had been admitted to, so I called them to see if they could tell me anything.  They couldn’t even find me the right ward to speak to. I emailed them, with no response.

I am hoping that all this is just a case of a man too poorly to text, or Tweet, or who has run out of credit on his phone. And one who is suddenly going to reappear on Twitter and have a moan about Jeremy Corbyn. But, I have to confess that I fear the worst.

If that is the case, then I wish I had had the chance to say goodbye. But, that just isn’t possible, so I will have to be content to say here that I am glad to have known this man.

He is a good man. He will be missed.

It’s not dark yet, but it’s getting there… indeed it is

One day, we will all just fade away and stop blogging and Tweeting. Let’s hope that someone notices.

Building the wall

Last weekend, I built a dry stone wall. Not single handedly, but with a group of others at the National Stone Centre, near Matlock in Derbyshire. 

I booked the weekend as a “gift” from my company for having been there 10 years and it was a really good experience. There were eight of us on the course, which was run by a lady who is a professional and champion waller, having done this for 25 years while running a farm at the same time. She was an excellent and patient teacher and everyone on the course thoroughly enjoyed themselves. 

Ages ranged from mid fifties down to nine and there were four women and four men (including the nine year old), none of whom had any experience of walling. 

We spent all day Saturday and Sunday on the wall and by the time we had finished, we had 6m of wall, about 1m high. This one will never win any awards, but for first timers, with the teacher’s help, I don’t think that we did too badly.

It was hard work but, surprisingly, I didn’t suffer too much for my efforts on returning home. I am looking forward to putting some of these new-found skills into action next spring when I get round to sorting out the patio area outside the kitchen.

Highly recommended.

Andy Barton's blog as a Leica user in remission from non-Hodgkin Lymphoma

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